Weapons allegations  | 

Dublin man charged with discharging firework and throwing glass bottles at Gardai during violent city protest

Jake Merriman (30) is facing trial after Judge Brian O'Shea ruled the case was too serious to be dealt with at district court level

Jake Merriman

Andrew Phelan

A MAN has been accused of launching a firework at a garda during the weekend’s anti-lockdown riot in Dublin city centre.

Jake Merriman (30) appeared in Dublin District Court today after he was arrested by gardai investigating violence that erupted at Saturday’s demonstration.

He is facing trial after Judge Brian O'Shea ruled the case was too serious to be dealt with at district court level and adjourned it for the directions of the DPP.

Mr Merriman, of Meadowland Avenue, Dun Laoghaire is charged with five weapons offences following the protests on Grafton Street.

Three of the charges allege that, in the course of a dispute, while appearing to be about to commit an assault, he produced an eight-shot cannon firework and glass bottles capable of inflicting serious injury in a manner likely unlawfully to intimidate another person.

The other two charges allege he was in possession of glass bottles intended to unlawfully to cause injury to, incapacitate or intimidate any person.

Mr Merriman was arrested yesterday morning and was held at Irishtown Garda Station before his court appearance today.

Detective Sergeant Patrick Traynor said he arrested the accused at 11.20pm last night for the purpose of charging him.

He made no reply to any of the five counts after caution and was handed copies of the charge sheets, Det Sgt Traynor said.

DPP directions were not available yet, he told Judge O’Shea. The judge asked for an outline of what was alleged so he could consider the issue of jurisdiction, to determine a future trial venue.

Jake Merriman

Det Sgt Traynor said it was alleged Mr Merriman was present at a demonstration on Grafton Street on Saturday during which "violent incidents erupted", with objects, missiles and fireworks being “fired at members of the gardai.”

Judge O’Shea asked what Mr Merriman was specifically alleged to have done. Sgt Traynor said he allegedly produced an eight shot cannon firework and discharged it, and that he produced two glass bottles and threw them at gardai.

Defence barrister Keith Spencer asked if there was any “duplication” in the incidents alleged in the charges. Det Sgt Traynor said they were five separate incidents and did not refer to the same bottle.

Judge O’Shea said although DPP directions had not yet been given, there were no circumstances under which the alleged offences could be viewed as minor and refused jurisdiction.

Det Sgt Traynor objected to bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the charges and potential sentence on conviction.

He said there was CCTV evidence and it was alleged the accused made no attempt to hide his identity. There were also witnesses and the investigation was ongoing, he said.

Judge O’Shea said he shared the view that the charges were serious but he had heard nothing that could not be dealt with by bail conditions. He noted that it was alleged the accused made no effort to conceal himself.

Bail was sent in Mr Merriman’s own bond of €200, with no cash required.

Under conditions, the accused must sign on twice weekly at Shankill Garda Station, stay out of the Dublin 2 area including Grafton Street and reside at an address provided.

This was different to the address he was charged under and Mr Spencer asked that it not be read out in court, saying there had been “a substantial amount of fanfare in the media.”

Judge O’Shea said he could see why the address should not be announced openly “in case there are any repercussions.”

The judge granted free legal aid after Mr Spencer said the accused had a power washing business but was on Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

The accused was remanded on bail to April 14, for the DPP’s consent for a return for trial.

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